Despite their immense potential, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) continues to underutilize whistleblower awards. For years, whistleblower advocates have called on FWS to better leverage whistleblower awards in its efforts to police wildlife crimes. Detailed documentation obtained by Whistleblower Network News in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, reveals that the agency continues to issue very few awards for token amounts.
WNN’s exclusive reporting on the FOIA documents also highlights the critical role award-recipients have played in successful FWS investigations. The wildlife crimes which whistleblowers exposed ranged from the individual killings of endangered animals including grizzly bears and gray wolves to complex illegal fishing operations devastating sturgeon and paddlefish populations in the Ohio River. These wildlife whistleblower success stories underscore the untapped potential of FWS whistleblower awards.